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thedrifter
04-11-08, 05:42 AM
Learning lab opens at New River Air Station
April 11, 2008 - 12:29AM
ANIESA HOLMES
DAILY NEWS STAFF

Math, it seems, can challenge even Marines.

"The biggest need on the air station is math," said John Sharp, New River Air Station's educational representative. "There are some students who say they were once very good at math, and they can't believe how much they had forgotten."

So the U.S Marine Corps and Coastal Carolina Community College have joined to provide a learning lab at the air station for those in uniform needing a refresher.

"We want to get the word out to young Marines and their families," Sharp said. "It's hard to get the word out, and we still have Marines going on the main campus for help."

The learning lab offers free tutoring in writing, reading, math and English to Marines and sailors, as well as their family members 18 and older. Assessment testing, GED preparation and college preparation are also available. Coastal operates similar learning labs on Camp Lejeune and Camp Johnson.

The lab is in its beginning stages and is progressively reaching out to students who want to freshen skills that may have gone stale since high school.

Sharp says that the lab is a tool accessible for anyone who needs help, not just Marines.

"If a civilian comes on base we do not turn them away," he said.

Elmer Price, basic skills recruiter and project coordinator at Coastal Carolina, says Coastal educators serve as lab facilitators and tutors to ensure that students receive the best assistance possible.

"We give assessment testing for tuition assistance to active duty Marines to make sure they are ready to begin their process," Price said.

The learning lab is just part of the educational benefits that the Marine Corps offers. Marines can receive money for education assistance on all levels, from certificate programs to doctorate degrees. A number of colleges and universities such as Campbell University and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington offer extended campus education. Students can enroll for classes with an instructor in a classroom setting or in a multimedia room that allows virtual communication between students and professors with video conferencing.

"We're trying to give young Marines the same opportunities as they would have if they had gone to a university after high school," said Ranza Thurman, education chief of New River Air Station.

"In order to provide an educational environment you have to have a learning lab to build their confidence and skills so that they can eventually graduate," Thurman said.

Sharp said that there are also future plans to add an additional building to let more Marines, sailors and families get what he called "the greatest result" of the learning lab: graduation day.

"The smiles that I see during graduation are what this is all about," he said.

The MCAS Learning Lab, located in rooms 210-205 of building AS213, is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. For more information, call 910-449-6926.

Ellie